Archive for category Mighty Good Recipe

Mighty Good Recipe: A Perfect Pot Roast

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I’ve been pretty open about my disdain for pot roast. It’s never been a dish that’s overly impressed me, but much of that could be attributed to my upbringing. My mother was a fantastic cook, but honestly, pot roast wasn’t her strong suit. She didn’t make the dish very often, and when she did, I wouldn’t say it was her strong suit.

So as a kid, I didn’t eat it much at home … which meant I rarely ordered it at a restaurant … which is also means why 30 years later, pot roast is just not my thing.

Until now.

Thanks to a recent dinner with Zara Abbasi Wilkerson in which she prepared oxtail, I was inspired to give slow-cooked beef another shot. It also didn’t hurt that I’d just received a beautiful 3-lb roast in my Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative meat-share package.

While I rarely watch the Food Network anymore, I do tend to bounce around its website when searching for a quality recipe. The recipes are often well laid out, user-friendly, and include comprehensive reviews, as was the case with this Perfect Pot Roast.

This ten-ingredient, one-pot recipe is not only supper easy, but also yields any amazing pot roast, with a post clean-up that’s easy to manage. I followed the directions precisely (although I did add some mushrooms) and was 100% pleased with the results. For me, using a good Dutch oven, along with a quality piece of meat and a nice, bold red wine were absolutely essential elements.

I ended up serving the super tender beef over mashed potatoes and a side of roasted Brussels sprouts. That’s a tough dish to beat when it comes to comfort food.

Some would even say it’s perfect.

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Mighty Good Recipe: Carnitas

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I’ve been dying to make some carnitas ever since I received my shipment of meat from the Grass Roots Cooperative and it included a beautiful 3-lb pork roast shoulder. Truth be told, I’ve never attempted to make carnitas at home. I guess feeling like I wouldn’t be able to replicate a Mexican restaurant’s authenticity has made me hesitant to try it myself.

But quality meat (Falling Sky Farm) sometimes deserves to be cooked with a little risk-taking involved–stepping out of my comfort zone to prepare something truly special.

After scanning the web, I was able to locate this recipe.

Let me tell you, these carnitas ended up being one of the best dishes I’ve prepared in a long time.

The preparation is not at all difficult but does take time and a few different cooking preparations. First, cut the pork shoulder into large cubes. The cubes don’t necessarily need to be uniform, but something approximately 2-inches by 2-inches works well. You’ll be tempted to start trimming fat during this stage. Don’t!! That fat is the key to this dish. Next, sear the pork cubes on all sides in hot oil (takes about 5 minutes) and add the rest of the ingredients to a large pot. Bring everything to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for almost 3 hours.

At about 2.5 hours of cooking time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the chunks of pork from the pot and place on a baking sheet. Take some of the reserved liquid and spoon over the pork chunks. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove … spoon more liquid on pork. Repeat this step 3 times (or 3o minutes). This part of the cooking process will create a crispy exterior, while allowing the interior to remain super tender.

Remove the baking sheet from oven and let the meat rest for 10-15 minutes. Once the meat has cooled, begin to pull apart, separating (and discarding) and any large pieces of fat. Once finished, mix in as much of the reserved liquid as you see fit. The more, the merrier.

I served the meat on a corn tortilla with some fresh, diced onions and a little cilantro. It ends up eating like a very traditional street taco.

If you’re cooking for a larger group, feel free to use a much bigger cut of meat.

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Mighty Good Recipe: Chicken in a Pot

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When I return home from an extended vacation, one of the first things I like to do is head to the grocery store, stock up, and prepare several home cooked meals over the course of the next few days. I’m sick of eating out and so is my waistline.

I found this Chicken in a Pot recipe because I was searching for something simple and healthy … and I had chicken in the freezer that needed to be used. Sound familiar?

This one is very easy. I took my big Le Creuset pot and added some olive oil. I then coated three large chicken breasts in some panko bread crumbs (that’s what I had on hand) and fried them on medium heat for three minutes per side. This is just enough time to get each side golden brown. Next, add the broth/tomato paste liquid mixture and sliced mushrooms, cover, and cook on low for 20 minutes.

While this was going on, I peeled and diced 4 large potatoes and boiled them with a heavy hand of salt for 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes, add 2 tablespoons of butter, a pinch of salt, and about 1 cup of 2% milk. Mix potatoes with a hand mixer until thoroughly whipped.

Back to the chicken.

After 20 minutes, remove chicken from the pot and crank the stove up to high. Boil for 4 minutes (uncovered), add the chicken back to the pot, coat, and turn off heat. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

Add the mashed potatoes to a plate and top with the chicken and mushroom sauce.

Will this recipe rock the foundation of your house with its awesomeness? Not likely. But it is a simple, no fuss, no dirty kitchen, weekday recipe that even makes a decent amount of leftovers, depending on how many potatoes and chicken breasts you use.

You can even add something like diced zucchini to the pot to make it even healthier. As a frame of reference, if you’ve ever enjoyed chicken cacciatore, this recipe is going to be very similar to that dish.

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Mighty Good Recipe: Cod Cakes with Sriracha Cream and Avocado

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This time of year, like many folks, I lean towards preparing lighter fish recipes. But sometimes I get a little tired of either throwing a tuna steak on the cast iron pan or broiling some salmon in the oven.

What about cod?

I’ve cooked it many times at home, but never was the end result met with rave reviews (even when I lived in Boston and got it fresh). Nowadays, I buy the monster package of frozen filets at Kroger. They work just fine in a pinch, but I was in search of a recipe that would really elevate cod.

Found it.

I used this cod cake recipe as a base, making several minor adjustments to end up with a final product that will definitely be in our dining rotation. First and foremost, scale the ingredient amounts down quite a bit, as the listed recipe feeds about 50 people.

First, boil three large cod filets and a halved lemon in salted water. Remove, let cool, and mash fish into little pieces. Boil four large potatoes, then mash with salt, 1/2 cup of milk,  2 tablespoons of butter, and a pinch of salt. Let cool as well. In a separate bowl, add sour cream, panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, green onions, Dijon mustard, and pepper. Mix well, then add cooled potatoes and fish. Mix well again. Take a small handful of the mixture and form patties. Heat canola oil to medium-high and fry the patties for 3 minutes on each side. Top with a sour cream/sriracha mixture, some diced avocado, and sliced green onions.

The subtle tasting cod is just a perfect pairing with the buttery potatoes. I think you’ll also find the sour cream and avocado toppings to add both a little spiciness and a creamy texture to the dish.

This recipe, although a bit labor intensive, is not difficult, and is ideal as either an appetizer for a dinner party or a main entrée for a family dinner.

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